Spring

The place to chat, fluff your feathers, and let off steam!
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Marigold
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Re: Spring

Post by Marigold » Wed May 02, 2018 2:02 pm

Blackbirds have nested under the eaves of our front porch this year, just above the door. We've tried to come in and out quietly, as they fly off the nest when humans are around, but it's a good place, covered and dry, and shaded in hot weather (if any!) They've now hatched and we can see three little beaks poking up above the edge of the nest The parents go on feeding them now, even when we are around.

Massive amount of traffic on our feeders now the nesting season is moving towards hatching time. The sparrows seem to be living on fatballs (autocorrect had that as footballs!) and all the little birds are popping in and out of the kibbled peanut, the mixed seed, the sunflower seed, and the mealworm feeders. All of these have feeder guardians over them, as we were losing kilos of seed to a plague of wood pigeons, though luckily there are no squirrels here. We got to the stage where 9 or 10 woodpigeons were feeding on the lawn and queueing up for a go at the feeders, but they seem to have given up coming now they can't get in to the cages. So I can sprinkle a mug of mixed seed and mealworms in the morning for the blackbirds and other ground feeders who can't manage the cage feeders. There's the top of a little bit of wall which Poppy can't reach - she was hoovering up the mixed seed from the ground and producing very interesting studded poos, as the seeds went straight through. Some starlings do manage to get a nibble of the mealworms in the feeder by craning their necks through the wire, and we've just been watching one young bird who had got in to the mealworm feeder cage and eaten so many it couldn't get out again, just like Winnie the Pooh. I've been saving the combings from Poppy's long coat for several months and recently hung it all up in a fat ball feeder. Very funny to see sparrows and bluetits flying away with enormous moustaches, hardly able to take off under the mass of luxury golden fluff!
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chrismahon
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Re: Spring

Post by chrismahon » Sat May 05, 2018 10:38 am

You need to take down the fatballs Marigold. The parents can feed the seeds to the chicks and the result is digestive impaction or at very least poor development. They should only be giving them high protein insects.

Checked our hornet traps yesterday for caught queens. 10 European hornets, 9 Asian hornets and 6 wasps- these are little pointed things that sting repeatedly for absolutely no reason.
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Marigold
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Re: Spring

Post by Marigold » Sat May 05, 2018 12:26 pm

The main reason for still providing bird food at this time of year is to reduce the pressure on the adults, so that they can devote their energy to finding appropriate food for their babies. I don't think our fatballs contain seeds big enough to be a problem, and they do actually have insects, ie mealworms, as part of them. Our garden is full of insect-attracting plants, but there seems to be a severe shortage of insects, especially butterflies and bees, so supporting the adult birds seems to make sense.
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LadyA
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Re: Spring

Post by LadyA » Sat May 05, 2018 4:08 pm

We were promised a glorious weekend, with high temperatures and sunshine. It's been cloudy, misty, and chilly so far! Not too cold if you are moving quickly, but you wouldn't stand around in it! I think everyone here is just so longing for a bit of warmth! It was actually September it turned cold here. I remember, because I was away for a 2 day/1 night stay, and it was so very cold, I had to go and buy a long sleeve teeshirt to wear under the jumper I had on! It rained all the time too. Was more like late November than September!
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
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LadyA
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Re: Spring

Post by LadyA » Wed May 09, 2018 9:05 am

Seems a lot of Ireland had a fabulous weekend, weather wise. Our corner had coastal fog most of the time!! We got a couple of hours of clearer weather in mid/late afternoon each day, but temps, far from being the "sizzling" up to 21C forecast, struggled to get to 12/13C! However, when the sun did shine, it was nice. And we had some sunshine for a bit yesterday, following some rain on Monday night. This morning, it's dark as dusk, windy and going to pour with rain any minute.

I'm so pleased though with the stuff in the tunnel! I've never really grown much in there before, as my late husband used it for his olive trees. When he became too ill, he forgot all about it, and when he died, my son in law had to just start at the door with a chainsaw! You literally couldn't get in there. It was not so much an olive grove, as an olive jungle! Then, for a couple of years, dau & sil just filled it with tomatoes! But they never had a great harvest, because they over crowded them, and then the plants got diseased. This year, I planted potatoes in a half barrell at the end of January, beetroot and lettuce. It got a very slow start because of the extremely cold weather and snow, but now it's all doing really well. We've been eating lettuce for a couple of weeks, the beetroot are almost ready and the potatoes will be flowering within days. I'll definitely be doing that again. Half the tunnel is filled with strawberries, which are coming along nicely. If we had some sunshine, they would ripen in a couple of days.
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
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LadyA
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Re: Spring

Post by LadyA » Sun May 13, 2018 9:24 am

IT'S HERE!!!
Finally, we've had some nice warm weather! Well, Friday, we had such heavy rain, I was afraid I was going to get stranded at dau's. Torrential rain and hailstones like peas. I feared for the apple blossom, as the trees have finally bloomed, but they hail seems to have been confined to a small area. Here, it seems, we just had the rain.
And yesterday and today (so far) have been beautifully sunny! Yesterday it got up to about 17C, which is plenty warm enough for me, when I'm strimming and mowing, I can tell you! I had to get help with one large area of the garden which hadn't been mowed because of the weather in about six weeks, and the grass was up to my knees and very wet. But it's all done, and I'm so pleased! The chickens are also delighted because the nettles had taken off in their pen and were waist high, so I took those all down yesterday.

It's just such a relief that I can do the work this year. Last year, with a badly "frozen" shoulder I couldn't use the lawnmower or strimmer, and it was so frustrating, having to get help all the time. This year, although the shoulder hasn't a lot of strength, and movement is still limited, it's at least usable, and it isn't painful. And I'm sure using it, the strength will gradually come back.

Now let's hope some of the stuff I've sown in the garden will come up!!
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
Eris
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Re: Spring

Post by Eris » Sun May 13, 2018 5:47 pm

We have nightingales :-) two at least, they have been giving it some welly over the last few days. Glad your shoulder is better than it was, you are right using it will help.
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